I received this email from Oklahoma City, OK 3 days ago.
We will send out a more serious blast later this week when the bill passes the full Senate, but you deserve to know now: Senator Coburn agreed to lift his hold on the bill today!
The Hold Out lasted 262 hours before a compromise was finally reached. Dozens of local news stories carried the story of the heroic activists who refused to leave the Senator's office in downtown Oklahoma City until they were successful, and the Senator's office was flooded with thousands of phone calls this past week. The Senator himself will be getting on the phone with organizers in just an hour to talk about how we can continue to work together.
Now, our focus turns to the House of Representatives, which must still pass their version of the bill before it can be sent to the President to be signed into law.
Kenneth Transier, one of our staff in Oklahoma, gave a shout out to all you supporters:
"To the people who slept next to me for eleven nights in the shadow of the Chase building, and those who supported us: You helped convince the most stubborn Senator in modern history to accept a compromise. You played a part in bringing $40 million to help rebuild four nations, and in creating what we hope is a big step toward the end of the longest running war in Africa."
Thank you. Victories like this don't come often, and our progress is not always so dramatic. That's why we are going to celebrate this one like crazy.
photo: OK City, OK celebration
Then I received this email today:
We couldn't be more overjoyed.
At 7:08PM last night, the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act passed the United States Senate with more bipartisan cosponsors than any Africa-focused legislation in at least three decades.
In short, this is huge.
Our focus now has to turn to the House of Representatives, which must pass the bill before it can reach the President's desk. Will you email your Representative now?
We can't say thank you enough. This is an achievement truly worth celebrating, one that will undoubtedly benefit families enduring the costs of this war for years to come.
The first good news actually came earlier this week. Under considerable pressure, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma agreed to lift his hold on the bill. Dozens of activists had refused to leave the Senator's Oklahoma City office until he allowed it to pass. Their "hold out" lasted 262 straight hours, generated significant media attention, and galvanized thousands of phone calls to the Senator's office.
The effort was a remarkable show of commitment from everyone involved. In the words of Oklahoman coordinator Mark Nehrenz, "As a movement, we found our voices this week, and we will not be silent. We are here to stay."
Senator Feingold, ecstatic about the achievement, said that it "sends a message that the United States will no longer stand by and watch the Lord's Resistance Army terrorize innocent civilians across central Africa, kidnap thousands of children and force them to become child soldiers" and commits our country to help "change the conditions that have allowed this war to persist for so long."
Senator Inhofe even gave you all a shout-out, acknowledging that none of this would have been possible without "the hard work and effort of all those who have believed in the importance of this legislation."
But it's not over yet. Far from it. And we're grateful to have you with us as we continue to move forward.
Check out this update from OK City, OK -